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Picturesque

On the subject of readers’ emails, these arrived the other day from my good friend Glade Rover who is a kind of international man of mystery. Currently in Limerick, Ireland but resident in Denmark, he took these on his phone (in the freezing fog) on a flying visit to these shores.

Gareloch and Rosneath 13/12/10

Garelochhead and 'Argyll's Bowling Green'

Local Views

In poetic form and on the news that American firms are trying to take over the Coulport armaments depot on Loch Long (a few miles as the missile flies from where I sit)

Another in the ElephantCant series via forargyll.com

AnElephantCant raise several billion
Of pounds that is oodles and oodles
So with a little support
We will just buy Coulport
With some rhymes and a few of Phil’s doodles

We’ll turn the place into a theme park
Invite kids from Arrochar Tarbet and Luss
It’s quite hard to reach
Loch Long’s stony beach
Perhaps the Council will lay on a bus?

The kids can take turns firing rockets
They can aim them at Russia or Spain
At 3 shots for a bob
That will be just the job
To stop our taxes being poured down the drain

AnElephantCant abide nuclear weapons
We have our own ultimate deterrent
No enemy can survive
Our midges and pies
Or a fortnight where the folk at The Fair went

Now Phil does some stuff that Walt Disney
He can draw missiles and stealth subs and stuff
We don’t want the Yanks
Owning our bonnie banks
So let’s tell them enough is enough

If the Americans take over Coulport
We must ask what else they might do
Will they conquer Rosneath
Garelochhead and beneath
Jings crivvens they’re heading for Rhu

Our plan is to keep the Clyde Scottish
And say no to the big Yankee bucks
No Hershey bars here
No Miller Lite beer
Just Irn Bru and a tea cake from Tunnocks

So let’s enjoy Scotland’s best day out at Coulport
See the foxes the seals and the deer
If enough people come
It will go like a bomb
All good fun – there is nothing to fear …

Verse by Brian Cairnduff, image by Phil Burns

Dire Straits

Following on from the hilarious Alexei Sayle clip about Knopfler and Co. I thought I'd better redress the balance. I'll probably get howls of derision from Helpless Dancer and Tomahawk Kid here but here goes!

I had a job driving taxis in 1978 at the grand age of 18. The car in question was an 8 year old Morris Oxford, one of the last of its kind. The radio in this thing was I think a valve effort!

 

I got a hire from Helensburgh to the Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Coulport, Loch Long and was coming back via Ardpeaton when John Peel played a track from a new band he was raving about. The track in question was Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits. This was the first time I'd heard the record and despite the medium wave sound quality, it made an instant impact on me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peel played the track another twice that week and I went in to John Menzies in Helensburgh to be looked at blankly when I asked for firstly the single and then the album with no success. A trip to Glasgow where the staff at Listen (10 Cambridge Street Cheap and Nasty) and Bloggs in St. Vincent St. had at least heard of the record but didn't in fact have it in stock. Knowing I wasn't going to be back in the city any time soon I returned to Helensburgh and oredered the single from John Menzies. I think I can safely say I was the first person in town with this record. I got the album a few weeks later and every track was as good as the single.

 

Borrowing a little bit from Cale,Clapton and Dylan their eponymous first album remains one of the finest debuts in rock history IMHO.

For me they never matched that first album although their biggest commercial success was to come in 1986 with the multi gazzillion selling Brothers in Arms. By that time the critics, (and Alexei Sayle) had made up their minds about them. They were nice. They were played by housewives and trendy types in white Suzuki soft tops. Footballers would list them as favourites, a sure sign of critical nadir. Knopfler had also taken to looking like some guy out at Haloween dressed as a fashion victim.

And yet, despite some overblown production and trite lyrics, B.I.A. was an album which shone like a beacon amidst some very poor music which had come along in punk's slipstream.

  

 

 

 

I rarely skip a track when they appear on random play on my MP3. Dire Straits. Loved by musicians, hated by critics. I notice Alexei Sayle still placed a copy of Brothers in Arms under his jacket on the way out the shop mind you!

 

 

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